Did you notice the Koppel bridge stop sign changed? If you didn’t, don’t feel bad. According to North Sewickley Police Chief Jeff Becze, drivers have had a hard time adjusting to the revised sign.
The North Sewickley Police Department has been forgiving of offending drivers for now as people acclimate to the change. However, Becze said that will soon change and citations will be issued for violations.
The intersection is at Route 351 and River Road, near the Koppel Bridge. Formerly, the stop sign only applied to traffic driving straight on River Road. Drivers turning right on 351 toward the Koppel Bridge didn’t have to stop.
That changed in March when the additional sign, “except left turn” was replaced with “traffic from right does not stop.” Now all traffic at the intersection, except for eastbound on 351, stops.
“Honestly, at first I didn’t really notice,” said Josh Court, a Chippewa resident from Ellwood City. “I don’t think anyone did. I guess it gives the people coming the other way a chance to turn and makes people slow down going around that turn. Makes sense to me.”
Becze explained that the sign needed changed due to the amount of accidents. “People were taking the turn way too fast and ended up in the opposite lane of traffic.”
After a fatality in the fall of 2014, Becze requested PennDOT perform a traffic study. PennDOT agreed with Becze’s recommendation to change the sign. Unfortunately, the sign change has created a new problem. Drivers obeying the sign and stopping with their right-turn signals on have almost gotten rear-ended by cars behind them unaware of the stop.
Becze simply wanted a stop sign with no additional message, feeling the “traffic from right does not stop” only confused people. As 351 is a state road, only PennDOT can make additional sign changes.
For now, Becze has officers stationed in the area warning people about the sign change. The department also announced the change in the Ledger, the radio, and social media. Not enough people know about it yet or are just not stopping.